(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "My Country And My People"

THE    ARTISTIC    LIFE                   287

This playing mood accounts for a certain quality of Chinese
painting, called yi. The nearest word for this in translation is
"fugitiveness," if this word may be used to denote at the same
time "romanticism" and "the spirit of the recluse." It is this
quality of light-hearted and carefree romanticism which dis-
tinguishes Li Po's poetry. This yi or "fugitive59 or "recluse"
quality is prized as the highest quality of the scholar's paintings,
and it comes from the playing spirit. Like Taoism, it is the
effort of the human spirit to get away from the workaday hum-
drum world, and achieve a light-hearted freedom.

This desire is understandable when we realize how much the
scholar's spirit was restrained in the moral and political
spheres, and in painting at least, it did its best to recover that
freedom. Ni Yiinlin (1301-1374), a great Yuan painter most
distinguished for this quality, said: "My bamboo paintings are
not intended merely to paint the fugitive spirit in my breast.
What do I care whether they are exact or not, whether the
leaves are thick or thin, or whether the branches are straight
or crooked?" Again, he said: "What I call painting is only a
few swiftly-made strokes of the romantic brush, not intended
to copy reality, but merely to please myself"

One should recognize, therefore, in Chinese ink-drawings of
human figures and landscapes of the southern school, certain
influences of calligraphy. First, one sees the swift, powerful
and always highly rhythmic strokes. In the twisting lines of the
pine tree one sees the same principle of twisting used in Chinese
writings. Tung Ch'ich'ang said about painting trees that every
line should twist all along, and Wang Hsichih said of calli-
graphy that every slanting line should have three twists. Tung
Ch'ich'ang also said that "when scholars paint, they should
apply the laws of the running script, the lishu, and the archaic
script." One sees also in the hollow wavy lines of the rocks a
type of script called feipo, which is written with a relatively
dry brush, leaving many hollow lines in the centre of the
strokes, and sees in the entwining branches of the trees the
wriggling lines of the seal character. For this is a secret left us
by Ghao Mengfu himself. Further, the artistic use of blank
space is an important calligraphic principle, for proper spacing
is the very first law of calligraphy, as stated by Pao Shenpo. If